Monthly Archives: January 2021

River And Wheel

I go to the river
as others have gone before me
and though it is cold
I enter the water
at the spot on the bank
where anglers have entered
for more years than are known
seeking food and sport
and perhaps a connection
to a wheel turning through time
so I can bring what is there
to the spot on the bank
where more people than are known
have entered for more years
than are known
seeking connection to more
than is known
and once I have pulled myself out
and am high and dry and warm
I turn back to the land
carrying with me more than I can know
yet somehow I do know
I am more full
than before I plunged in
and caught hold
of the wheel

For the Fancydancers

revised from march 2020

within days
of the contagion’s start

took me over
rolled my hands into chafed red fists
started punching through my pale shell 

I spend my mornings now
watching fancydancing videos

little girls in jingle dresses
little boys in full regalia stomping
all raising their arms against contagion

on small and common
snow-iced lawns
on the edges of empty roads 

in furrows left
in winter land
by spring and summer plowing

all of them elsewhere west of here
beyond this city
crowded still

with unbelievers shopping
for safety from what
they don’t yet fully believe is already among them

is no longer a rumor of plague
east and west of here
but no, not here

west of here
people are dancing
toward healing

I think of my sister
sick as sick can be now
in her jingle dress at eighteen

whatever is inside me pokes me gently
reminds me of smallpox blanket stories

this is how you survive


It seems
that I’ve been walking
through a tunnel for
a long time;

one hand on
each damp wall,
pinprick light behind me,
pinhole of hope ahead;

the lights
before and behind
have winked out
and here I am —

cold wet hands,
tearing my fingers open
on stones I cannot see.
I stop for a moment,

listening to dripping water,
listening for something scrambling
through the dark
toward me — and while there’s

nothing at all besides me
in here, I’m certain,
I need to feel fear anyway.
I’ve been told the dark is

terrifying my whole life,
after all. I’ve been told that tunnels
hold danger at their core,
but all I feel here is space.

Perhaps I am the danger?
The stones whisper that to me.
I don’t know if they can be trusted.
I don’t know if I can trust myself,

alone with myself in the dark.


First principle must be
that words matter more to you than
anything: ideas are in words

and all you need to release them
is a key that opens a chest full of
right words in which to trap physicality:

truth comes out of that
even if you must lie or fantasize a little
to strengthen a listener’s sensation:

based on what words you pluck
from your breath you recreate
this world as it truly is:

a paradox of course but
that is how it works
and always has:

ideas coated in words.
Truth coated in words.
Reality coated in words: it’s

mythic work — not lies,
enhanced sensing of how words
carry all, weight beyond meaning:

truth balanced on syllables
balanced on sensation and
under all, ideas. Bedrock.